I’ve always hated sales.
Inherent in the concept of selling is a ton of arrogance. For me to tell you to buy my book, I have to not only be accepting the premise that the book is worth your money, I have to actually impress upon you that it’s worth your money. That is completely antithetical to my typical approach to my writing, which is closer to: “Please tell me if you like it! Please tell me! Tell me!”
I’ve passed on more sales jobs in my life than I can count, got out of the collections industry in part because it was too similar to sales, and yet I now find myself in this horrible confluence: the job I want more than anything requires me to also take on the job I most loathe.
I agonized about this, briefly. Then I realized that I have done some shit jobs in my life, man. Collections ranked right up there, but let’s not forget lawn care, which will forever be remembered as the Summer I Realized I Had Allergies (Bad Ones).
I did these jobs for one reason only: to pay the rent. Toward that lofty end, I was willing to plug my nose and bite the bullet (and mix metaphors). With my writing, though, so much more is on the line. If I could fight through stuff I hated just to make it day-to-day, then I can sure as hell do it for something I truly love.
All right. Great. So once I reached this realization, I began following up with some people I’d mentioned the book to who hadn’t checked it out. I made a couple more posts on sites I frequent. Then I sort of stumbled to a halt.
I knew all along that self-publishing also meant self-marketing, and compared to just writing the book that had seemed, from a distance, to be a pretty manageable problem. “I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it,” I’d said repeatedly, while trying to hammer out the latest writing issue. Well, now I’m at the bridge, and let me tell you, it’s much more intimidating than it appeared to be from a mile back. It doesn’t have railings, for one, and it’s not paved. It’s more like one of those perilous rope things from Indiana Jones, lurching wildly in the gusting wind, ready and willing to pitch me into the frothing, hungry rapids below.
It’s easy to try to slip on the hind-sight glasses, and start second-guessing my decision to go solo. A part of my brain is saying, “See? This is why authors need a publisher.” But I’d heard often enough beforehand that only big-time authors really get that kind of support from their publishers, and I keep seeing this position get re-affirmed. (BTW, thank you, Barry and Joe, for that post. It helps us little guys keep our heads on straight.)
So here I am, with an awesome book (see?) that I need to spread the word about. I’ve been doing a ton of research the last couple weeks on different ways to approach it, read a lot of articles forwarded to me by friends and family, and listed all the ideas that seem most promising into my ProjectPlan.xls document. I feel humbled, confused, and nervous as hell, but shit.
That bridge ain’t crossin’ itself.